The year is 1928.

  • Charles Lindbergh was presented with the Medal of Honor for his first transatlantic flight.
  • Joseph Stalin announces the first ‘five-year plan’ resulting in the average non-farm  wage (for soviets) dropping by about half.
  • Fats Domino, Ariel Sharon, Jim Lovell, Ennio Morricone, Bo Diddley, Adam West, Eddie Fisher and several other celebrities were born.)
  • British inventor John Logie Baird demonstrates the world’s first colour television transmission.(All copied and pasted directly from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1928)

Who is the best team in American Professional Football in 1928? Why the Providence Steam Roller of course, finishing with an 8-1-2 record, only losing to the Frankford Yellow Jackets.

Established by writers for the Providence Journal, the Steam Roller were an independent team until the ’30s when they became part of the National Football league.

ProvidenceSteamRoller1922

Although the logo may look like the prince of darkness, the Steam Roller mascot was a husky.

 

The Steam Roller finished the season 8-1-2, whose first three games came against the New York Yankees, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and the Dayton Triangles.

After 1928, the Steam Roller was never the same. Key players departed for pursuits in wrestling, insurance, and coaching football.

Wikipedia claims the lack of interest coupled with the debilitating effects of the great depression caused the owners of the team to turn it over to the NFL.

The Providence Huskies,  a ‘successor’ to the Steam Roller (after it’s demise) went undefeated in 1933 and is the only pro football team to ever not allow a single point scored by an opponent during an entire season.

The 1928 Steam Roller perfectly embodied what makes New England special. Enduring challenging circumstances (the great depression), winning (they finished the season as the top team in the country), and beating the Yankees (the Steam Roller played the New York Yankees twice in ’28 and won both times).

Your music video for this post is Pearl Jam’s Sirens . The music video is just them performing the song. Which is one of the reasons I respect Pearl Jam so much. They don’t do pretentious horse-shiz, they just play rock music.

The Cardinals have an explosive offense mostly known for their passing offense: QB Carson Palmer, WR’s Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and small-school burner John Brown.  What football fans outside of Arizona are beginning to see is their rushing attack come to life. The Cardinals were the 8th-ranked running attack in 2015 with new free agent hires OG Mike Iupati, LT Jared Veldheer, and RB Chris Johnson chipping in. All those guys are still there, and so is OG Evan Mathis, the former Bronco and Eagle who ranked as the third ranked guard in football last year, as well as the number one run-blocking guard (according to profootballfocus.com.)

The Cardinals bevy of running backs (David Johnson, Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson) will give Arizona plenty of opportunity to run all over defenses. January’s contests between Arizona and Seattle and Arizona and Carolina might look very different had Arians’ offense been able to get more of a push at the line of scrimmage. The addition of the best run-blocking guard in football should change that. In their playoff game against eventual NFC champs Carolina, the Cardinals top-10 rushing attack was limited to 60 yards rushing, forcing Carson Palmer to turn to the passing game and eventually throw four interceptions.

Arizona faces Carolina again this coming October 30th, where the Panthers will no longer have literally the easiest schedule in football and l̶o̶u̶d̶m̶o̶u̶t̶h̶ talented cornerback Josh Norman to help them build momentum.

The Cardinals were a very strong roster before this offseason. They should compete again among the NFC heavyweights, among which I expect Green Bay and New York will resurface.

The addition of Mathis also means drafting David Johnson in fantasy is now a viable option. He was a viable option in fantasy last year as well, when he collected over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns (8 rushing, 4 receiving).

The music video for the day is Andra Day’s Rise Up. It may not make you feel manly, but the video was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the man behind Sixth Sense and the confusing but hilarious(ly bad) The Happening.

 

These are the guys on the Jets roster listed at the QB position:

  • Geno Smith,
  • Bryce Petty,
  • Christian Hackenberg.

Geno Smith has played 31 games of NFL football. He played so well the Jets brought in journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to replace the former 2nd round pick. Fitzpatrick is a free agent and doesn’t want to play for New York at the 8 million he was offered.

Bryce Petty is a 2nd year player and has zero games of NFL experience.

Christian Hackenberg is a rookie who completed 53.5% (that’s bad) of his passes in 2015 for Penn State. NFL pundits predicted Houston could draft Hackenberg because O’Brien worked with the passer at Penn State. The Jets drafted him because Mike Maccagnan had downed enough whisky by pick 19 (round 2) that doing so seemed like a good idea (probably).

The Colts had (entering the NFL draft) a pressing need for a running back. The team hasn’t had a 1,000 yard runner since 2007. So GM Ryan Grigson responded by not drafting a running back at all. To be fair to the Colts, they did invest heavily in offensive linemen, blocking being a major issue for the team in 2015. Instead they’re relying on 32 year old Frank  Gore and former Marshawn Lynch backup Robert Turbin to accept fake hand-offs from Andrew Luck.

The Colts made the playoffs in the past without a strong run game, but the AFC South is more competitive now. They’ll face stiff competition with a vastly improved Houston and Jacksonville clubs.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted a kicker in the second round. In the 2000 NFL Draft, NFL legend Al Davis drafted kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round. That’s something Al Davis can get away with because of his reputation. Aguayo will need to have a career like Janikowski for this pick not to look silly in years to come.

Special teams is a big part of the game, the Buccaneers could have gotten a replacement kicker later in the draft. The Bucs could really use an upgrade at the safety position, Ohio State standout safety Vonn Bell was available at pick 59 when Tampa picked Aguayo.

The San Francisco 49ers traded back up into the first round to draft….a guard. *Cue the Keegan-Michael Key voice* “Why? But I ask again. Why?” Josh Garnett is one of the top rated linemen in the draft. Trading up into round 1 would make sense to get QB Paxton Lynch, or even a game-changing wide receiver like Laquon Treadwell. The move implies Kelly wants to emphasize defense and the run game, a recipe the 49ers relied upon heavily prior to 2014.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, Radiohead’s new single: “Burn the Witch” was just released. It’s wicked. The music video is a stop-motion, claymation 3 and a half minute remake of The Wicker Man. You can find it on youtube.

Remember to call your mom this Sunday and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.

 

 

 

 

If you don’t know who Paul DePodesta is, he’s the guy played by Jonah Hill in Moneyball. After his work with the San Diego Padres, DePodesta was eventually recruited by the Cleveland Browns to be their “Chief Strategy Officer.” I’ve personally never heard of a coach or front office person switching sports before. Which attests to Cleveland’s faith in DePodesta’s abilities. (Or my complete lack of sports knowledge).

There is no guarantee that DePodesta had a say in each and every player drafted in 2016, but the changes Paul made to the Padres organization would have been during events like the draft.

I see the draft as DePodesta’s imprint on the organization. His attempt to take the team to the next level like he did for the Padres.

For the third year in a row, the Cleveland Browns finished NFL draft sunday looking and feeling good.

Big Names

Corey Coleman, WR Baylor – Round: 1 – Average sized but blazing fast. I can’t help but think Coleman was drafted with Robert Griffin in mind as bigger targets like Laquon Treadwell or Josh Doctson were available at this point. Coleman was an endzone hog with 20 touchdowns in 2015 for Baylor.

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE OK. State. – Round: 2 – Great on paper at 6’4”. 275, and a 40 in the 4.5 range. Ogbah created 12.5 sacks in 2015, batted down 4 passes, and forced 3 fumbles. Looks to be a beast lining up next to Danny Shelton.

Carl Nassib, DE Penn State – Round: 3 – A 6’ 6” walk-on who earned a playing scholarship at Penn State, Nassib led the country in sacks and forced fumbles in 2015. Doesn’t have the speed of Ogbah, but Nassib’s size and work ethic showed up on the field.

Lots of potential

Jordan Payton, WR UCLA – Round: 5 – UCLA’s career receptions record holder posted solid senior numbers against top level Pac-12 competition.

Spencer Drango, OG Baylor – Round 5 – Four-year starter at left tackle at Baylor. CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler compares Drango to Dallas stud OG Zack Martin.

Rashard Higgins, WR Colorado St. – Round 5 – Higgins produced video game numbers in 2014 (96 catches, 1750 yards, 17 TDs). Reminds me of Green Bay’s Davante Adams.

Scooby Wright III, ILB Arizona – Round: 7 – Wright isn’t really tall, fast, or strong. He was a force to be reckoned with at Arizona. His sophomore year he totalled twenty-nine stops for a loss, six forced fumbles, and fourteen and a half sacks, All at inside linebacker. Reminds me of Zach Thomas, former Miami Dolphin. Wright also made profootballfocus.com’s 16 best picks of the 2016 draft. That’s high praise from the guys that really know football.

Everyone else

Shon Coleman, OT Auburn – Round 3

Cody Kessler, QB USC – Round 3 – Seen as a reach when guys like Connor Cook were still available. Cleveland management clearly sees something unique in Kessler. I’m a huge USC fan but USC QB’s haven’t been truly successful in the NFL since Carson Palmer. Kessler’s best season came in 2014, with 39 TDs and only 5 INTs.

Joe Schobert, OLB Wisconsin – Round 4 – Another player on profootballfocus.com’s 16 best picks in the 2016 draft.

Ricardo Louis, WR Auburn – Round 4

Derrick Kindred, FS TCU – Round 4

Seth Devalve, TE Princeton – Round 4 I did not know Princeton had a football team.

Trey Caldwell, DB Louisana-Monroe – Round 5

That’s great they drafted Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack.

That’s great they acquired Kelvin Beachum, Malik Jackson, and Tashaun Gipson in free agency.

That’s great that 2015 1st round pick Dante Fowler Jr. is coming back from injury.

Lots of teams have young quarterbacks, draft exciting players, sign free agents, and have players coming off of injury.

Houston and Indianapolis will still be the clubs at the top of the AFC South.

Young gun Brock Osweiler will have an actual offense to work with with Will Fuller and Braxton Miller joining an offense that already has DeAndre Hopkins and big-bodied Jaelen Strong.

Most importantly, Houston’s offensive line should be strong in 2016 with rookie Nick Martin and a budding Xavier Su’a-Filo at guard. Speedy running back Lamar Miller should find opportunities to show off his talent behind a revitalized offensive line.

Houston’s third (overall) ranked defense has not changed significantly from last season.

Indianapolis invested two draft picks into starting caliber offensive linemen in hopes of reversing the woes their offense faced in 2015. Clemson safety T.J. Green and FA inside linebacker Nate Irving (Denver) will look to combat the deep ball that is becoming a real threat in the AFC South.

Jacksonville will improve from their 2015 season, and it’s understandable that people are excited about what Bortles does with that receiving corps but QBs with pretty numbers aren’t as impressive any more.  

Jacksonville will be, at best, tied for second place in the AFC South for the coming 2016 season.

A brief look at defensive line depth charts in the AFC East and their profootballfocus.com (subscription required) ratings and rankings.

Miami Dolphins

DE Cameron Wake – PFF ranking 32.2, 1st among 4-3 DE’s

DT Ndamukong Suh – PFF ranking 27.5, 3rd amongst DT/NT’s

DT Jordan Phillips – N/A (rookie)

DE Olivier Vernon – PFF ranking 6.5, 17th among 4-3 DE’s

The Dolphins have some young talent (Earl Mitchell, Anthony Johnson) who could start the season at DT next to Suh but Phillips looks like the heir apparent at the position as the second round pick of the draft and coming off a strong season at Oklahoma.

New York Jets

DE Muhammad Wilkerson PFF ranking 33.7, 3rd among 3-4 DE’s

NT Damon Harrison – PFF ranking 11.5, 14th among DT/NT’s

DE Sheldon Richardson – PFF ranking 39.9, 2nd among 3-4 DE’s

The Jets still have the best 3-4 defensive line in football with Wilkerson, Harrison, and Richardson. They also took DT Leonard Williams just in case one of their elite defensive ends gets injured they can instantly replace him with a young blue chip talent and keep plaguing offenses as if nothing happened.

Buffalo Bills

DE Mario Williams – PFF ranking 16.1, 9th among 4-3 DE’s

DT Marcell Dareus – PFF ranking 25.6, 4th among DT/NT’s

DT Kyle Williams – PFF ranking 20.2, 7th among DT/NT’s

DE Jerry Hughes – PFF ranking 9.7, 14th among 4-3 DE’s

The Bills defensive line (barring injury) doesn’t change from a dominant 2014 season.

New England Patriots

DE/OLB Rob Ninkovich – PFF ranking -6.4, 41st out of 46 3-4 outside linebackers

DT Alan Branch – PFF score -.1 unranked among DT/NT’s

DT Sealver Siliga – PFF ranking 4.4, 25th among DT/NT’s

DE/OLB Chandler Jones – PFF ranking 11.7, 11th among 3-4 outside linebackers

You’ll notice the Patriots defensive line pales in comparison to the rest of the AFC East in terms of 2014 performance. It’s worth noting that rookie DT Malcom Brown (2015 1st round pick) or young untested DT Dominique Easley (2014 1st round pick) are likely to win the starting DT job next to Siliga in place of Alan Branch. That leaves “weak link” Rob Ninkovich with eight sacks, two passes defended and an interception from last season to round at defensive end.

The NFC West has recently been known as the division of defense. With free agency and the draft changing the NFL landscape the AFC East may overtake that identity.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  – Jameis Winston, Florida State QB -Winston played in a pro style offense at Florida State and had repeated success on a big stage winning a heisman and national championship in 2013. Winston will become the face of the franchise for the next two to three seasons for better or worse.
  2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, Oregon QB – Mariota’s a star talent at the QB position. Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt himself said Mariota would be a day one starter if he comes to Tennessee at number two. If the Titans don’t trade the pick expect them to take Mariota here at number two.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler, Florida OLB –  Fowler fits the pure pass rusher mold Coach Bradley wants for this defense.
  4. Oakland Raiders – Leonard Williams, USC DT – Leonard Williams is the best player in the draft. The Raiders have a no-brainer pick here.
  5. Washington Redskins – Vic Beasley, Clemson OLB/DE – Washington needs a pass rusher. Beasley has a successful track record of getting after the quarterback and the physical prowess coaches and GM’s like in a first round pick.
  6. New York Jets – Randy Gregory, Nebraska OLB/DE – Gregory’s ability to both rush the passer and cover opposing receivers make him valuable on Todd Bowles’ defense.
  7. Chicago Bears – Kevin White, West Virginia WR – White can step in and immediately replace and improve on Brandon Marshall’s production from 2014..
  8. Atlanta Falcons – Shane Ray, Missouri OLB/DE – Atlanta needed a first round caliber pass rusher this time last season. They chose to address other needs early in the draft. Ray showed he’s a consistently dominant defender with over fourteen sacks in the 2014 season against big time SEC competition.
  9. New York Giants – Brandon Scherff, Iowa OL – The Giants were the 30th ranked team in run blocking efficiency according to profootballfocus.com during the 2014 season. Young runner Andre Williams will need more help than an underperforming John Jerry to bring balance to the Giants offense. The Giants could take Amari Cooper here, but adding Scherff would help re-establish Giants football from the late 00’s that was so successful.
  10. St. Louis Rams – Amari Cooper, Alabama WR – The Rams need offensive line help, but Amari Cooper would be an enormous gain for St. Louis. The Rams desperately need a true number one receiver.
  11. Minnesota Vikings – DeVante Parker, Louisville WR – The best wide receiver available at this pick. Parker carries the bonus of having played with Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville which should help him develop a rapport with the passer quickly. Parker is a big target with soft hands and only three drops since 2012.
  12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton, Washington DT – The Browns have other needs, but Shelton is a monster at a position of need for Cleveland. Stopping the run will be hugely important if Cleveland wants to win division games.
  13. New Orleans Saints – Malcom Brown, Texas DT – Brown, like Shelton, displayed dominance as both a run defender and pass-rusher. He would be drastic upgrade for New Orleans on the defensive line.
  14. Miami Dolphins – Bud Dupree, Kentucky OLB/DE – Dupree as a physical specimen isn’t too far off of Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney. Dupree can learn from the grizzled veteran Cameron Wake and replace him in future seasons.
  15. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead, Oregon DE – The 49ers have many needs. Armstead should help San Francisco re-establish dominance in the front seven with the potential loss of Justin Smith. Armstead has experience in a 3-4 defense with impressive conditioning. Armstead looks like a more polished Ziggy Ansah coming out of college.
  16. Houston Texans – Landon Collins, Alabama FS – Houston has other needs, but Collins would join a secondary in need of quality safeties. Neither Swearinger nor Rahim Moore blew anyone away with their performance last season. Houston already has a stout front seven, Collins would provide more security on the back end of the defense.
  17. San Diego Chargers – La’el Collins, LSU G/T – Collins demonstrated he can both pass-protect and run block while playing left tackle at LSU. Collins could likely play guard at San Diego or possibly right tackle and maybe be groomed to down the road replace King Dunlap.
  18. Kansas City Chiefs – Ereck Flowers, Miami OT – Young Eric Fisher didn’t come in and play great last season. Ereck Flowers can solidify the right tackle spot or push Eric Fisher at left tackle. The Chiefs also have need for a wide receiver and center.
  19. Cleveland Browns (through Buffalo) – Eric Kendricks, UCLA ILB – Adding pieces to a front seven that can defend better against the run will be important for their jockeying for position in the AFC North. Kendricks plays athletically (though a little undersized) and should stabilize the run defense like he did at UCLA. Kendricks can also drop into coverage well.
  20. Philadelphia Eagles – Trae Waynes, Michigan State CB – Philadelphia just added Byron Maxwell in free agency. Maxwell had a great 2014, but was never great without starting next to Richard Sherman. If Trae Waynes can live up to expectations, he would give Philadelphia a formidable duo at corner. At worst, Waynes can be a valuable nicker corner while grooming under more seasoned players. Waynes demonstrated the ability to play press coverage and to cover well in space.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Goldman, Florida State DT – Goldman can replace the struggling Domata Peko at DT
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jalen Collins, LSU CB – The steelers are losing defensive backs left and right. They needed depth in the secondary before Ike Taylor retired. Collins has plus size and will compete better against A.J. Green and the league’s taller receivers.
  23. Detroit Lions – Marcus Peters, Washington CB – Peters is the most talented player on the board here.
  24. Arizona Cardinals – Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest CB – Arizona needs a top corner to stabilize the secondary after a shaky season from Patrick Peterson and the departure of Antonio Cromartie
  25. Carolina Panthers – Andrus Peat, Stanford, OT – Carolina had a monster need for wide receivers and offensive tackles last season. They drafted Kelvin Benjamin, but took no tackles in the draft. Peat is a top athlete at his position. Peat’s experience playing against top-level competition and high praise qualifies him as a draft steal at number twenty-five.
  26. Baltimore Ravens – Jaelen Strong, ASU WR – Strong is a big, athletic target who should be able to more than replace what Baltimore lost with Torrey Smith’s defecting to San Francisco this offseason.
  27. Dallas Cowboys – Todd Gurley, Georgia RB – Gurley’s play is unbelievable. He has bruising size ( 6’,1” 231 lbs), plus speed (evidenced by two kickoff returns for touchdowns) and skillful hands (37 catches for 441 yards and 6 receiving TD’s in 2013). There is concern of injury. But if Gurley can stay healthy, he can easily be the next big thing at running back.
  28. Denver Broncos – T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh OT – Denver needs a true right tackle to replace struggling Chris Clark. Denver has a future with C.J. Anderson at running back and are preparing to have Brock Osweiler take over the reigns as passer in 2016. Both players will need a strong offensive line to support them. Drafting Clemmings is an investment for the future and for 2015.
  29. Indianapolis Colts – Jake Fisher, Oregon OT – Gosder Cherilus struggled at offensive tackle last season. The Colts can again use some help against the run. Taking an offensive tackle here will give Andrew Luck better protection. Fisher has experience both at left and right tackle at Oregon.
  30. Green Bay Packers – Shaq Thompson, Washington ILB – Thompson’s size (228 lbs) has some teams projecting him at safety. If Thompson can cover and play the run Green Bay can work around his size. Letting go A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones at linebacker and seeing Seattle run right through Green Bay’s defense in last season’s NFC championship game creates a need for an athlete like Thompson.
  31. New Orleans Saints – Cameron Erving, Florida State C/G – The Saints sent Guard Ben Grubbs to Kansas City in a trade and watched as former pro bowler Jahri Evans struggled mightily this season. The Saints are clearly making way for the future. Reestablishing a strong offensive line will be essential for the rebuilding project for the Saints. Erving is a fine athlete with experience at Guard and Center.
  32. New England Patriots – P.J. Williams, Florida State CB – NFL scouts are high on Byron Jones for his athleticism. Bill Belichick has stated time and time he again he values: “football players” over size/speed guys. Williams played big at Florida State’s national championship game and can contribute immediately on Belichick’s defense.